Isla, Jose Francisco De
ISLA, JOSE FRANCISCO DE (1703-1781), Spanish satirist, was born at Segovia in 1703, and became a member of the Society of Jesus, in which he distinguished himself both as a teacher and as a preacher ; on the expulsion of his order from Spain in 1767 he betook himself to Bologna, where after some years of impaired health he died in 1783. His first literary experiment was the Juventud Triunfante (" Triumph of Youth," Salamanca, 1727), a cleverly disguised satirical account of a festival celebrated in 1727 at Salamanca in honour of two young Jesuits who had recently been canonized by Benedict XIII., in which he was assisted by a brother priest. named Losada ; it was followed in 1746 by his Tritinfo del Antor y de let Lealtad: Dirt Grande de .Kavarra, being an account olf the extravagant ceremonies with which the accession of Ferdinand YI. of Castile had been celebrated in PanapeIona. This was written in so delicate a vein of satire that at first the parties chiefly ridiculed felt really flattered, and expressed their gratitude to the author; ultimately, however, its true meaning was discerned, and so strong was the reaction that lie had to leave the locality. The work on which Isla's claim to a place in the history of the literature of his country rests, however, is his llistoria del Faneoso P,'edicador Fray Gerundio de Campazas, in which in course of an imaginary biography of a preaching friar named Gerundio many of the absurdities that deformed the Spanish pulpit at that time are ably held up to ridicule. The first volume appearel at Madrid in 1758, duly approved by the ecclesiastical authorities, who probably were not unwilling that the faults then glaringly prevalent among preachers should be chastized and if possible corrected; so great was the offence given, however, to the religions orders, and especially to the Dominicans, by the causticity of Fray Gerundio, that the royal authority was at last called in to prohibit the book. The second volume, which therefore could only appear surreptitiously, is dated "Campazas" (i.e., Madrid), 1770, and like the first bears on the title page the name of Don Francisco Lobon de Salazar as its author. An anonymous translation by Thomas Nugent (The Ilistory of the famous preacher Friar Gerund de Cantpaztts, otherwise Gerund Zotes) appeared in London, in two volumes, in 1772. Six volumes of Sermites, written between 1729 and 1754, and published in 1792, show that Isla's own high reputation as a preacher was not undeserved; and his Cctrtas Familiares (6 vols., Madrid, 1785-86) are written iu an easy and attractive style. He is also well known iu the Peninsula as the eminently successful translator of Gil Bias (Gil Bless de Sintillana vuelto fc su patria, printed at Madrid in 1787), although his strenuously asserted theory that La Sage had borrowed that popular story wholesale from a Spanish source is now entirely exploded.